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CES 2012 – Where’s the Beef?

by Shaun Quigley, mobile practice director, Brunner

A Year of “incremental improvement?”

LAS VEGAS — With Apple strikingly absent from this year’s CES, and with Steve Ballmer making Microsoft’s swan song at the world’s largest tradeshow, I had tempered expectations as I touched down in Vegas.  And the show is delivering on that expectation: small, incremental improvements to things like TV and tablets.

Nevertheless, every tradeshow has a few golden nuggets. Here’s what we uncovered opening day.

App of the Day: EBay’s AWESOME augmented reality fashion app helps shoppers try on the product before they hit the store. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FmYZ1YImWIw

Content Consumption and Co-viewing.  People are watching more TV than ever before. That consumption is the result of co-viewing (or multi-screen viewing) on tablets, smartphones and an increasing number of “ultrabook” options.

CES 2012 LG Cinema 3D Smart TV

Smart TV. Executives from LG and Best Buy acknowledged that 40% of TVs being sold in stores today are connected, with projections of 90% by 2015.  The smarter the TV, the more social the viewing experience. The more social the viewing experience, the more integration points for brands.

Communications Planning. Demographics are out. Contextual relevance is in.  Also, media flowcharts are killing digital’s ability to make smarter, faster connections with consumers. (Why? Because it’s a line item that’s easy to cross off!).  Industry must find a better way to present media plans.

Mobile Strategy.  Business goals are different when your consumer is in the kitchen versus the store. Location awareness must factor into the strategy.

3D Everything. Last year there were just a handful of 3D enabled TVs on the showroom floor. Today there are hundreds.  Implication for brands:  how can your product experience reach out and touch someone?

Shaun Quigley is the mobile practice director for Brunner, and lead’s the agency’s innovation incubator, BHiveLab. Follow him @Squigster

The 5 Rules of Research

As you may have heard us say, reporters love numbers. Proprietary research and surveys offer you the opportunity to create news when you may not otherwise have it. So in our quest to be the best counselors possible, we had a sit-down conversation yesterday with representatives from Kelton Research — a leading marketing research firm in NY and LA — to discuss the best ways to incorporate research into any PR program.

What we left with was a very clear understanding of the importance of laying the groundwork to successful research. In the same way that, as Bill Cosby says, 90 percent of success is just showing up, 90 percent (if not more) of successful research is in the preparation. To that end, here are Kelton’s Five Rules of Research for your reading pleasure:

  • Establish Clear Goals and Priorities.  Clearly define what you want, and how you want it, from day one.  Envision desired headlines first, and let questions flow from there.
  • Identify your Audience.  Two things matter here: that survey respondents fit your brand’s target profile, and that you can articulate the audience in a simple way with the media.
  • Go Beyond the Brand.  Journalists won’t directly shill for your products. Surveys need to transcend the brand to touch on a theme that’s interesting to the public.
  • Map Out Your Deliverables.  Determine what works best for you to tell your research story. A long PowerPoint for the team?  A short, concise deck for executives?  A Word document with prose?  Establish this from the beginning.
  • Create Reasonable Deadlines.  Research often takes longer than you think. Build in extra time when possible for analysis, editing and fulfillment of the final deliverable.

Happy researching!

My-vertising: Making Your Consumer The Center Of Attention

Forgive my artistic license of interpretation, but there is a great line in Gladiator that can apply to the brand advertising world — “Win the crowd, you will win your freedom.” If you remember, this was said to Maximus (Russell Crowe) by his mentor before leading a band of gladiators to fight against the emperor’s men in the Coliseum.

Conventional brand advertising wisdom isn’t much different and often dictates that empowering your customers is a great starting point for success.  This involves much more than just adhering to the old cliché that the customer is always right.  In today’s Facebook  generation, brands are starting to understand that consumers want social empowerment – they want to take credit for discovering that cool app their friends would want to use.  Brands are deliberately blurring the proverbial line between themselves and the people they sell to for the benefit of getting their story told by the most influential people of all – their customers.   If done right, consumer advocacy can be the most powerful tool in a brand’s arsenal.

According to Dietmar Dahmen, a Vienna, Austria-based ad man who was previously creative chief with BBDO (Vienna) and executive creative director at Ogilvy (Vienna), the best way to earn a thumbs-up from your audience is to address both your brand and your consumer in your advertising efforts. And the best way to think about this is from your consumer’s point of view.

With this in mind, Dahmen has created a system that lets a brand tell its story, making sure that the consumer sees it, loves it, uses it and promotes it.

One of the pillars of this system is called “My–vertising.” Focusing on the location and preferences of a consumer, My-vertising puts the individual in the center of the program. Imagine an app that shows a dog-owner only dog-friendly restaurants in his/her vicinity that are open now–that’s My-vertising. It cuts through the dense woods of over-information, showing you a few needles, but not the whole haystack.

As a result, My-vertising maximizes ego-relevance, and makes a consumer feel important because of what it does for his/her personal brand. This extends to sharing information about a brand on Twitter or Facebook. As Dahmen points out, Mike Arauz famously said: “’If I tell my friend about your brand, it’s not because I like your brand, but because I like my friend’ is just one more ‘I’ added to the already five I’s and my’s. Plus, I look cool doing so.”

Sharing information through social media is just another, sometimes faster, way of building one’s image.

We have to always remember that social advertising is essentially non-social. People collect friends to look cool, and they share information with those friends so they can be heroes to others. Your brand can help your consumers do that, and they will be grateful if it does.

Insights From TargetCast’s 2011 Advertising Week Panel “Phoenix Rising”

In this video interview with DGC, Steve Farella, co-founder and President, TargetCast tcm, discusses how technology is changing foundational media following TargetCast’s 2011 Advertising Week Panel “Phoenix Rising.”  In this annual  event, TargetCast execs talk to media insiders from companies like the NY Times, Hulu, and Emmis about how advertisers are using new technology to reach consumers.

Steve, whose panel focused on radio, shared the following takeaways: broadcast radio is healthy —  the revenue is there and people are listening —  and digital platforms like Pandora and iheartradio continue to enhance radio as an effective medium for advertisers.

A theme running through TargetCast’s three discussions on print, radio and video is that technology is increasing audiences overall — but the verdict is still out on how to marry scale and and targetability for some emerging technologies.

Audrey Siegel, co-founder and President of TargetCast tcm, also shared key insights from her discussion on the impact of technology on print media at “Phoenix Rising.”

Her key takeaways: content drives consumption and technology facilitates it, and there is good reason to be optimistic about the print business. Though the industry has faced challenges driven by advertising usage, readership is consistently strong, and tablet technology will only enhance that.

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